Tag Archive | Disappearance

Unequalled Contribution: Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

For the disappearance day of Sat Chit Ananda Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur:

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

namo bhaktivinodaya saccidananda-murtaye |
gaura-sakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te ||

I offer my obeisances to you, O Bhaktivinoda, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, the incarnation of Gaura’s potency and the best of the followers of Rupa Goswami.

The sampradaya’s debt to Bhaktivinoda Thakur
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is the root of the daily activities in the Chaitanya Math, the Gaudiya Math, the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, the Gaudiya Missions, etc. The Gaudiya Math institutions cannot be separated from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. These institutions are entirely indebted to his sublime contributions. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has written, “Devotees in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami do not preach faith in their own powers, but rather direct attention to the source of their spiritual strength. We also do everything for the sake of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Sri Rupa, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and our divine spiritual master.” (From Patravali, Srila Prabhupada’s letters, vol. 3, p. 89.) Devotees of the Brahma-Madhva-Sarasvata-Gaudiya sampradaya pay their respects daily to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur as follows:

suddha-bhakti-pracarasya mulibhuta ihottamah |
sri-bhaktivinodo devas tat-priyatvena visrutah ||

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is a transcendental personality who is the root of the preaching movement of pure devotion. He is renowned as one who is dear to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Bhaktivinoda’s unequalled contribution
Vedavyasa and the scriptures he wrote are the foundation of all those who claim to follow the Sanatan Dharma. He himself practiced and preached the means by which humankind can attain the supreme peace. Vedavyasa compiled and divided the Veda, wrote the eighteen puranas and the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad-gita, but remained unsatisfied. Finally, while at Badarikasrama, Narada Muni instructed him to glorify the activities of Sri Krishna in order to attain his pleasure. After writing the twelve cantos of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vedavyasa finally found the peace he had been looking for. Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya preached the Bhagavat religion which is found in this text. After the disappearance of Mahaprabhu and his associates, however, the path of pure devotion became covered with thorns until Bhaktivinoda Thakur appeared to write many books and to preach the pure doctrine of devotional service to Krishna. Through his tireless efforts, all the heretical doctrines were ! shown to be empty, the path of supreme auspiciousness and compasision was shown to all the world. These efforts can only be said to constitute an unequalled and certainly unsurpassed contribution. Without being empowered by Krishna himself, the message of pure devotion cannot be spread. Such a display of empowerment could not be possible were he not a direct associate of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Sri Krishna.

Externally he was a householder with family obligations, a government servant engaged in the administrative service, but despite these responsibilities he was still able to write over a hundred books in several different languages. One cannot fail to be impressed by this monumental achievement. Every word of his writing is scripture; every word awakens the spirit of devotion to him who is beyond the grasp of the material senses and mind. Mundane scholars would never be able to achieve the kind of synthesis that he did. His every thought was perfectly reasonable and never far-fetched. His writings are a permanent display of compassion to the fallen souls. His Divine Grace Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj used to say to his disciples, “You need do nothing else other than translate Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s books into the world’s various languages and you will have done the greatest act of welfare for the people of the world.” In fact, everything that is done in the Gaudiya Maths throughout the world has come from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

Read the full article here

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For HDG Srila A.C Bhaktivendanta Swami’s Disappearance

Our Eternal Guide

By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness

 

The following lecture was originally published in the Harmonist in l936, on the advent day of His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. This brilliant preaching refutes the sectarian misconception that the spiritual master is limited to a particular person, form, or institution, and establishes the universal conception of guru. Highlights in bold type have been added to emphasize on this point.

—–

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri caranaravindam

“In the revealed scriptures it is declared that the spiritual master should be worshiped like the Supreme Personality of Godhead and this injunction is obeyed by pure devotees of the Lord. The spiritual master is the most confidential servant of the Lord. Thus let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of our spiritual master”.

Gentlemen, on behalf of the members of the Bombay branch of the Gaudiya Math, let me welcome you all because you have so kindly joined us tonight in our congregational offerings of homage to the lotus feet of the world teacher, acaryadeva, who is the founder of this Gaudiya Mission and is the President-acarya of Sri Sri Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha-I mean my eternal divine master, Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya, Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja.

Sixty-two years ago, on this auspicious day, the acaryadeva made his appearance by the call of Thakura Bhaktivinoda at Sri Ksetra, Jagannatha Dhama at Puri.

Gentlemen, the offering of such an homage as has been arranged this evening to the acaryadeva is not a sectarian concern, for when we speak of the fundamental principle of gurudeva or acaryadeva, we speak of something that is of universal application. There does not arise any question of discriminating my guru from yours or anyone else’s.

There is only one guru, who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you, me and all others.

 

In the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12) it is said:

tad-vijnartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham

“In order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth.”

Thus it has been enjoined herewith that in order to receive that transcendental knowledge, one must approach the guru. Therefore, if the Absolute Truth is one, about which we think there is no difference of opinion, the guru cannot be two. The acaryadeva to whom we have assembled tonight to offer our humble homage is not the guru of a sectarian institution or one out of many differing exponents of the truth. On the contrary, he is the jagad-guru, or the guru of all of us, the only difference is that some obey him wholeheartedly, while others do not obey him directly.

In the Srimad- Bhagavatam (11.17.27) it is said:

acaryam mam vijaniyan
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyasuyeta
sarva-deva mayoguruh

“One should understand the spiritual master to be as good as I am,” said the Blessed Lord. “Nobody should be jealous of the spiritual master or think of him as an ordinary man, because the spiritual master is the sum total of all demigods.”

That is, the acarya has been identified with God Himself. He has nothing to do with the affairs of this mundane world. He appears before us to reveal the light of theVedas and to bestow upon us the blessing of full-fledged freedom, after which we should hanker at every step of our life’s journey.

The transcendental knowledge of the Vedas was first uttered by God to Brahma, the creator of this particular universe. From Brahma the knowledge descended to Narada, from Narada to Vyasadeva, from Vyasadeva to Madhva, and in this process of disciplic succession the transcendental knowledge was transmitted by one disciple to another till it reached Lord Gauranga, Sri Krsna Caitanya, who posed as the disciple and successor of Sri Isvara Puri. The present acaryadeva is the tenth disciplic representative from Sri Rupa Goswami, the original representative of Lord Caitanya who preached this transcendental tradition in its fullness. The knowledge that we receive from our gurudeva is not different from that imparted by God Himself and the succession of the acaryas in the preceptorial line of Brahma. We adore this auspicious day as Sri Vyasa-puja-tithi because the acarya is the living representative of Vyasadeva, the divine compiler of the Vedas, Puranas, Bhagavad-Gita, Mahabharata and Srimad-Bhagavatam.

One, who interprets the divine sound, or sabdha brahma, by his imperfect sense perception, cannot be a real spiritual guru, because, in the absence of proper disciplinary training under the bona fide acarya, the interpreter is sure to differ from Vyasadeva (as the Mayavadis do). Srila Vyasadeva is the prime authority of Vedic revelation, and therefore such an irrelevant interpreter cannot be accepted as the guru, or acarya, howsoever equipped he may be with all the acquirements of material knowledge. As it is said in the Padma Purana:

sampradaya-ivhina ye mantras te nisphala matah

“Unless you are initiated by a bona fide spiritual mater in the disciplic succession, the mantra that you might has received is without any effect.”

On the other hand, now who has received the transcendental knowledge by aural reception form the bona fide preceptor in the disciplic chain, and who has sincere regard for the real acarya, must needs be enlightened with the revealed knowledge of the Vedas. But this knowledge is permanently sealed to the cognitive approach of the empiricists. As it is said in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (6.23):

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hyarthah

prakasante mahatmanah

“Only unto those great souls who simultaneously have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of the Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”

Gentlemen, our knowledge is so poor, our senses are so imperfect, and our sources are so limited that it is not possible for us to have even the slightest knowledge of the absolute region without surrendering ourselves at the lotus feet of Sri Vyasadeva or his bona fide representative. Every moment we are being deceived by the knowledge of our direct perception. It is all the creation or concoction of the mind, which is always deceiving, changing and flickering. We cannot know anything of the transcendental region by our limited, perverted method of observation and experiment. But all of us can lend our eager ears for the aural reception of the transcendental sound transmitted from that region to this, through the unadulterated medium of sri gurudeva or Sri Vyasadeva. Therefore, gentlemen, we should surrender ourselves today at the feet of the representative of Sri Vyasadeva for the elimination of all our differences bred by our unsubmissive attitude. It is accordingly said in the Bhagavad-Gita (4.34):

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva darsinah

“Just approach the wise and bona fide spiritual master. Surrender unto him first and try to understand him by inquiries and service. Such a wise spiritual master will enlighten you with transcendental knowledge, for he has already known the Absolute Truth.”

To receive transcendental knowledge, we must completely surrender ourselves to the real acarya in a spirit of ardent inquiry and service. Actual performance of service to the Absolute under the guidance of the acarya is the only vehicle by which we can assimilate transcendental knowledge. Today’s meeting for offering our humble services and homage to the feet of the acaryadeva will enable us to be favored with the capacity of assimilating the transcendental knowledge so kindly transmitted by him to all persons without distinction.

Gentlemen, we are all more or less proud of our past Indian civilization, but we actually do not know the real nature of that civilization. We cannot be proud of our past material civilization, which his now a thousand times greater than in days gone by. It is said that we are passing through the age of darkness, the Kali-yuga. What is this darkness? The darkness cannot be due to backwardness in material knowledge. Because we now have more of it than formerly. If not we ourselves, our neighbors, at any rate, have plenty of it. Therefore, we must conclude that the darkness of the present age is not due to a lack of material advancement, but that we have lost he clue to our spiritual advancement, which is the prime necessity of human life and the criterion of the highest type of human civilization.

Throwing of bombs from airplanes is no advancement of civilization from the primitive, uncivilized practice of dropping big stones on the heads of enemies from the tops of hills. Improvement of the art of killing our neighbors by means of machine guns and poisonous gases is certainly no advancement from primitive barbarism, which prided itself on its art of killing by bows and arrows. Nor does the development of a sense of pampered selfishness prove anything more than intellectual animalism. True human civilization is very different from all these states, and therefore in the Katha Upanishad (1.3.14) there is the emphatic call:

uttisthata jagarata prapya varan nibodhata
ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya
durgam pathas tat kavayo vadanti

“Please wake up and try to understand the boon that you have in this human form of life. The path of spiritual realization is very difficult; it is sharp like a razor’s edge. That is the opinion of learned transcendental scholars.”

Thus, while others were yet in the womb of historical oblivion, the sages of India had developed a different kind of civilization, which enabled them to know themselves. They had discovered that we are not at all material entities, but that we are all spiritual, permanent, and indestructible servants of the Absolute. But because we have, against our better judgement, chosen to completely identify ourselves with this present material existence, our sufferings have multiplied according to the inexorable law of birth and death, with its consequent diseases and anxieties. These sufferings cannot be really mitigated by any provision of material happiness, because matter and spirit are completely different elements. It is just as if you took an aquatic animal out of water and put it on the land, supplying all manner of happiness possible on land. The deadly sufferings of the animal are not capable of being revealed at all until it is taken out of its foreign environment. Spirit and matter are completely contradictory things. All of us are spiritual entities. We cannot have perfect happiness, which is our birthright, however much we may meddle with the affairs of mundane things. Perfect happiness can be ours only when we are restored to our natural state of spiritual existence. This is the distinctive message of our ancient Indian civilization, this is the message of the Gita, this is the message of the Vedas and the Puranas, and this is the message of all the real acaryas, including our present acaryadeva in the line of Lord Caitanya.

Gentlemen, although it is imperfectly that we have been enabled, by his grace, to understand the sublime messages of our acaryadeva, Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivarajakacarya Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, we must admit that we have realized definitely that the divine message from his holy lips is the congenial thing for suffering humanity. All of us should hear him patiently. If we listen to the transcendental sound without unnecessary opposition, he will surely have mercy upon us. The acarya’s message is to take us back to our original home, back to God. Let me repeat, therefore, that we should hear him patiently, follow him in the measure of our conviction and bow down at his lotus feet for releasing us from our present causeless unwillingness for serving the Absolute and all souls.

From the Gita we learn that even after the destruction of the body, the atma, or the soul, is not destroyed; he is always the same, always new and fresh. Fire cannot burn him, water cannot dissolve him, the air cannot dry him up, and the sword cannot kill him. He is everlasting and eternal, and this is also confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.84.13):

yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke
sva-dhih kalatradisu bhauma ijya-dhih
yat-tirtha buddhih salile na karhicit
janesv abhijnesu sa eva go-kharah

“Anyone who accepts this bodily bag of three elements [bile, mucus, and air] as his self, who has an affinity for a intimate relationship with his wife and children, who considers his land worshipable, who takes bath in the waters of the holy places of pilgrimage but never takes advantage of those persons who are in actual knowledge-he is not better than an ass or a cow.”

Unfortunately, in these days we have all been turned foolish by neglecting our real comfort and identifying the material cage with ourselves. We have concentrated all our energies for the meaningless upkeep of the material cage for its own sake, completely neglecting the captive soul within. The cage is meant for the undoing of the bird; the bird is not meant for the welfare of the cage. Let us, therefore, deeply ponder this. All our activities are now turned toward the upkeep of the cage, and the most we do is try to give some food to the mind by art and literature. But we do not know that this mind is also material in a more subtle form. This is stated in the Gita (7.4):

bhumir apo ‘nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha

“Earth, fire, water, air, sky intelligence, mind, and ego are all My separated energies.”

We have scarcely tried to give any food to the soul, which is distinct from the body and mind; therefore we are all committing suicide in the proper sense of the term. The message of the acaryadeva is to give us a warning to halt such wrong activities. Let us therefore bow down at his lotus feet for the unalloyed mercy and kindness he has bestowed upon us.

Gentlemen do not for a moment think that my Gurudeva wants to put a complete brake on the modern civilization-an impossible feat. But let us learn from him the art of making the best use of a bad bargain, and let us understand the importance of this human life, which is fit for the highest development of true consciousness. The best use of this are human life should not be neglected. As it is said in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.9.29):

labdhva su-dulabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyanam arthadam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu mrtyu yvan
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat

“This human form of life is obtained after many, many births, and although it is not permanent, it can offer the highest benefits. Therefore a sober and intelligent man should immediately try to fulfill his mission and attain the highest profit in life before another death occurs. He should avoid sense gratification, which is available in all circumstances.”

Let us not misuse this human life in the vain pursuit of material enjoyment, or, in other words, for the sake of only eating, sleeping, fearing, and sensuous activities. The acaryadeva’s message is conveyed by the words of Sri Rupa Goswami (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255-256):

anasaktasya visayan yatharham-upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyamucyate
prapancikataya buddhya hari-sambandhi-vastunah
mumuksabhih parityago vairagyam phalgu kathyate

“One is said to be situated in the fully renounced order of life if he lives in accordance with Krishna consciousness. He should be without attachment for sense gratification and should accept only what is necessary for the upkeep of the body. On the other hand, one who renounces things that could be used in the service of Krishna, under the pretext that such tings are material, does not practice complete renunciation.”

The purport of these slokas can only be realized by fully developing the rational portion of our life, not the animal portion. Sitting at the feet of the acaryadeva, let us try to understand from this transcendental source of knowledge what we are, what is this universe, what is God, and what is our relationship with Him. The message of Lord Caitanya is the message for the living entities and the message of the living world. Lord Caitanya did not bother himself for the upliftment of this dead world, which is suitably named Martyaloka, the world where everything is destined to die. He appeared before us four hundred and fifty years ago to tell us something of the transcendental universe, where everything is permanent and everything is for the service of the Absolute. But recently Lord Caitanya has keen misrepresented by some unscrupulous persons, and the highest philosophy of the Lord has been misinterpreted to be the cult of the lowest type of society. We are glad to announce tonight that our acaryadeva, with his usual kindness, saved us from this horrible type of degradation, and therefore we bow down at his lotus feet with all humility.

Gentlemen, it has been mania of the cultured (or uncultured) society of the present day to accredit the Personality of Godhead with merely impersonal features and to stultify Him by claiming that He has not senses, no form, no activity, no head, no legs, and no enjoyment. This has also been the pleasure of the modern scholars due to their sheer lack of proper guidance and true introspection in the spiritual realm. All these empiricists think alike; all the enjoyable things should be monopolized by the human society, or by a particular class only, and the impersonal God would be a mere order-supplier for their whimsical feats. We are happy that we have been relieved of this horrible type of malady by the mercy of His Divine Grace. He is our eye-opener, our eternal father, our eternal preceptor and our eternal guide. Let us therefore bow down at his lotus feet on this auspicious day.

Gentlemen, although we are like ignorant children in the knowledge of Transcendence, still; my gurudeva has kindled a small fire within us to dissipate the invincible darkness of empirical knowledge. We are now so much on the safe side that no amount of philosophical argument by the empiric schools of thought can deviate us an inch from the position of our eternal dependence on the lotus feet of His Divine Grace. Furthermore, we are prepared to challenge the most erudite scholars of the mayavada school and prove that the Personality of Godhead and His transcendental sports in Goloka alone constitute the sublime information of the Vedas. There are explicit indications of this in the Chandogya Upanishad (8.13.1)

syamac cha vlam prapadye
sa valac shyamam prapadye

“For receiving the mercy of Krishna, I surrender unto Krishna.” Also in the Rg. Veda (1.22.20):

tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah
diviva caksur atatam visnor yat paramam padam

The lotus feet of Lord Visnu are the supreme objective of all the demigods. These lotus feet of the Lord are as enlightening as the sun in the sky.”

The plain truth so vividly explained in the Gita, which is the central lesson of the Vedas, is to understood or even suspected by the most powerful scholars of the empiric schools. Herein lies the secret of Sri Vyasa — puja. When we meditate on the transcendental pastimes of the Absolute Godhead, we are proud to feel that we are His eternal servitors, and we become jubilant and dance with joy. All to my divine master, for it is he who has out of his unceasing flow of mercy stirred up within us such a movement of eternal existence. Let us bow down at his lotus feet.

Gentlemen, had he not appeared before us to deliver us from the thralldom of this gross, worldly delusion, surely we should have remained for lives and ages in the darkness of helpless captivity. Had he not appeared before us, we would not have been able to understand the eternal truth of the sublime teaching of Lord Caitanya. Had he not appeared before us, we could not have been able to know the significance of the first sloka of the Brahma-samhita:

isvarah paramah krsna
sac-cid-ananda-vigraha
anadir adir govindah
sarva-karana-karanam

Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.”

Personally, I have no hope for any direct service of the coming crores of births in the sojourn of my life, but I am confident that some day or other I shall be delivered from this mire of delusion in which I am at present so deeply sunk. Therefore let me with all my earnestness pray at the lotus feet of my divine master to allow me to suffer the lot for which I am destined due to my past misdoings, but to let me have this power of recollection: that I am nothing but a tiny servant of the Almighty Absolute Godhead, realized through the unflinching mercy of my divine master. Let me therefore bow down at his lotus feet with all the humility at my command.

Abhay Charan Das

[early name of His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada]
Given originally as an address before the

Members of the Sri Gaudiya Math, Bombay

Circa February l936

Retyped and cut and paste from the Preface to Sri Guru and His Grace:

http://www.gosai.com/chaitanya/srila_sridhara_mj/sri_gur u/sri_guru_pref.html

and the l998 Sri Vyas Puja of Srila Prabhupada

His Divine Grace Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

Printed with the kind consent of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaj, Founder-Acarya of Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math

Special thanks to Pradyumna das brahmacari for his editing assistance in presenting this complete version for the internet.

Puru Das Adhikari 8/11/99

 

For Sri Murari Gupta ~ Disappearance

Sri Murari Gupta

murari-gupto hanuman
angadah shri-purandarah
yah shri-sugriva-namasid
govindananda eva sah

Murari Gupta was Hanuman in Ramachandra’s lila; Purandara was Angada and Govindananda Sugriva. (Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 91)

The word gupta means “hidden”, so the name Murari Gupta indicates that Murari (Sri Chaitanya Deva) had secretly taken up permanent residence in his heart. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.10.31)

Murari Gupta took birth in a family of Ayurvedic physicians in the district of Sylhet.

Murari Gupta is a physician for the material disease. He was amongst the many associates of Mahaprabhu who appeared in Sylhet. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.2.35)

The names of his parents are unknown. He was somewhat older than Mahaprabhu. When his family moved from Sylhet to take up residence in Nabadwip, they lived in the same neighborhood as Sri Chaitanya, so Murari was Nimai’s companion in many of his childhood pastimes. It is also written in the Chaitanya Charitamrita that Murari observed Mahaprabhu’s childhood pastimes. His name is included in the Chaitanya Bhagavat’s list of associates who appeared prior to Mahaprabhu’s incarnation.

Hidden in Nabadwip, there were many who had previously taken birth at the Lord’s command. They included Sri Chandrasekhara, Jagadisa, Gopinath, Sriman, Murari, Sri Garuda and Ganga Das. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.2.98-99)

Murari’s Student Life in Nabadwip

Along with Mahaprabhu, he was also a student at Ganga Das Pandit’s Tol. When the Lord was engaged in his pastimes of learning and study, he would often engage Murari in joking and mock debate. Murari Gupta was amazed at Mahaprabhu’s wonderful intelligence and just the touch of his hand would so immerse him in ecstasy that he was early convinced that he was no ordinary human being.

One day, the Lord was pleased with the explanation which Murari Gupta gave him, one which he was able to give through the Lord’s grace. He touched Murari with his hand and his entire body was filled with ecstasy. Murari Gupta thought that this person can in no way be an ordinary human being. Can an ordinary human attain such scholarship so quickly? And his touch brings such ecstatic pleasure! (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.10.49)

The Vaishnava’s ornament is humility. Mahaprabhu would melt when he saw the humility of Murari Gupta.

Murari Gupta, the twenty-first branch of the Chaitanya tree, was a storehouse of love. The Lord’s heart would melt when he saw Murari’s meekness and humility. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.49)

Mahaprabhu’s Special Mercy to Murari

When Mahaprabhu returned from Gaya, he saw Murari at the house of Shuklambar Brahmachari. Murari had heard of Mahaprabhu’s transformations from Sriman Pandit. Mahaprabhu was pleased with Murari and one day he gave him a vision of his form as the Varaha avatar; the Lord lifted Murari’s water jug on his nose as he gave a loud roar. Murari considered his life to have been fulfilled by this vision and he composed a hymn in glorification of the Lord. This event has been beautifully described by Vrindavan Das Thakur in the Chaitanya Bhagavat, Madhya-khanda, chapter 3.

Varaharupa-to-Murari-Gupta

The Lord took on the mood of Varaha in the house of Murari. The Lord climbed on his shoulders and danced in the courtyard. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.17.19)

Lord Gaurahari had the same kind of affection for Murari Gupta that Lord Ramachandra had for his servant, Hanuman. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.3.11) On the occasion of the 21-hour great manifestation (maha-prakasha) at Srivasa Angana, the Lord gave Murari a vision of himself as Ramachandra. When he saw his worshipable deity before him, Murari fainted. Then he glorified the Lord in a way which so pleased him that he gave a benediction to Murari which fulfilled all his desires.

He ordered Murari, “Look at my form”, and lo! Murari saw the form of Raghunatha directly before him. He saw the Lord of the Universe in the swarthy color of durba grass, sitting in the virasana, in the posture of a great bowman. He saw Sita and Lakshman standing on either side of him, and his army of monkeys surrounding him singing hymns of praise. It seemed to him that he was himself one of the monkeys, and as soon as he saw this, he fell down in a faint. The best of the physicians, Murari, lay unconscious on the ground, completely under Mahaprabhu’s spell. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.10.7-11)

On one occasion, when Mahaprabhu heard Murari Gupta recite the glories of Ramachandra, he wrote “the servant of Rama” on his forehead. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.17.61) On another occasion, Mahaprabhu displayed a four-armed Narayan form in the house of Srivasa, and began calling the name of Garuda. Murari Gupta heard the call, and giving a loud roar took the form of the king of birds. Mahaprabhu then climbed on his shoulders. This lila is described in the 20th chapter of the Madhya-khanda of Chaitanya Bhagavat, and in the 12th wave of Bhakti-ratnakara.

Murari and Nityananda Prabhu

At Srivasa’s house, Mahaprabhu taught the spiritual truths about himself, Nityananda Prabhu and matters of etiquette through Murari. One day, Murari Gupta came to Srivasa’s house. Upon arriving, he first paid obeisances to Mahaprabhu and then to Nityananda. Mahaprabhu said, “This is not correct.” Murari could not understand what he meant. That night when he returned home, he had a dream in which he saw Nityananda as Balaram, fanning Mahaprabhu/Krishna with a fly whisk. Murari then understood what Mahaprabhu had been telling him and from then on first paid obeisances to Nityananda and afterwards to Mahaprabhu. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur writes in his Gaudiya-bhashya, “Sri Murari was a worshiper of Balaram. Therefore to worship the Supreme Lord without first worshiping the guru and the jagad-guru is a mistake in sequence.”

The lotus-eyed Mahaprabhu was sitting down with the smiling Nityananda at his right hand side. Murari paid obeisances first to Nityananda and then to the feet of Vishvambhara. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.20.22-3)

The Lord Gives Murari His Pan

Mahaprabhu had great affection for Murari Gupta and so would give him his own pan, which Murari would eat with relish. When Mahaprabhu told Murari to wash his hands, Murari would simply wipe his hands on his head. It was at this time that Mahaprabhu suddenly began to criticize the false views of the Smarta Brahmins and Prakashananda’s mayavada.

The Lord said, “O foolish one, you will lose your caste status. My remnants are all over your body.” As he spoke, the Lord went into a trance in which he took on his identity as the Supreme Person. He ground his teeth and started to say something special, “There is a sannyasi named Prakashananda in Kashi who is cutting me into little bits. He teaches the Vedanta, but does not accept my form. I have caused him to become leprous, but still he does not understand. The fool does not realize that the unlimited universes are contained within my body, what arrogance that he should deny it! I tell you the truth Murari, for you are my servant: anyone who does not accept my form is bound for ruin.” (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.20.31-36)

Murari Cures the Lord’s Indigestion

The Lord is very happy to accept a devotee’s offering, no matter how it is made. When Murari returned home, he told his wife that he wished to eat. His devoted wife carefully prepared rice with ghee and gave it to her husband. But Murari, absorbed in contemplation on Krishna, took handful after handful of the food and threw it on the ground, offering it to the Lord in this way. The amazing thing is that even though Mahaprabhu was not physically present there at that time, he accepted the offering. The next day he came to Murari’s house and said to him, “I have come to you for medicine. You made me eat so much, insisting that I take and eat. Now I have indigestion. You must give me some water, that will be the remedy for my stomach problem.” Mahaprabhu took water from a jug in Murari’s house, drinking down its entire contents. Seeing this, Murari fainted and all the devotees began to cry. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.20.69-71)

Murari would cure anyone who came to him, whether their disease was of the body or the soul. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.51)

Murari’s Fear of the Lord’s Departure

Murari Gupta analyzed the multiple incarnations of the Lord and came to the conclusion that in each one of the Lord’s appearances, before himself leaving, he arranged for his associates to leave also. Thus, Ramachandra destroyed Ravana to save Sita, but then he abandoned her. Krishna arranged for the destruction of the Yadus. Thus, Mahaprabhu too would inevitably be disappearing at a certain moment. He thought that it would be better for him to depart before that day arrived, for it would be too painful for him. For this reason, Murari purchased a sharp knife and kept it hidden in his home. The Lord knew of his intention and immediately came to his house and asked Murari to hand over the knife. Both the abovementioned lilas are found described in the Bhakti-ratnakara’s twelfth wave.

Murari Gupta would also go on the annual pilgrimage to see Mahaprabhu in Puri. Accompanied by his wife, he would feed Mahaprabhu many preparations. He would participate in the Rathayatra festival as a member of the third sankirtan group in which Mukunda Datta sang and Hari Das Thakur danced.

Murari’s Exclusive Devotion to Rama

Mahaprabhu taught the principle of devotion to one’s worshipable deity through Murari Gupta. One cannot advance in devotional service without a particular devotion to a worshipable deity, or ishta-devata. Murari was an incarnation of Hanuman, and he saw Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as Ramachandra. On one occasion, Mahaprabhu desired to test his loyalty to his worshipable deity Rama by telling him to worship Krishna. He explained to Murari that Krishna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the fountainhead of all the other incarnations. Because he was the ocean of all the devotional flavors, the joy to be had in worshiping Krishna could not be had in the service of any other form of the Lord. Murari promised Mahaprabhu that he would do as he advised and worship Krishna, but when he returned to his home, he could not give up the lotus feet of Ramachandra. Just the thought of it made him upset and he stayed awake the entire night. In the morning, he went to Mahaprabhu and fell at his feet with tears in his eyes. He humbly submitted to the Lord:

I have sold my head to Ramachandra. I cannot remove it from his feet, for as soon as I try, it causes me great pain. I cannot give up the lotus feet of Raghunatha, even though this means disobeying you. What can I do? O merciful one, please allow my to give up my life here before you rather than suffer this fate. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.15.149-151)

shrinathe janaki-nathe
cabhede paramatmani
tathapi mama sarvasvo
ramah kamala-locanah

Both Narayan, the husband of Lakshmi, and Ramachandra, the husband of Sita are equally the supreme personality of Godhead. Even so, the lotus-eyed Rama alone is everything to me.

Mahaprabhu was greatly satisfied to hear this exclusive devotional attitude to the worshipable deity. He said, “You are Hanuman himself, the eternal servant of Ramachandra. Indeed, why should you give up worshiping his feet?” Sri Jiva Goswami’s father Anupama was similarly devoted to Rama. Mahaprabhu compared him to Murari when Sanatan told him that Anupama was not able to give up worshiping Rama despite his brothers’ exhortations.

Mahaprabhu said, “Previously, I tested Murari Gupta and found him also to be devoted to Rama in the same way. That devotee who does not abandon his worshipable deity’s lotus feet is truly glorious. Glorious too is that Lord who does not abandon his devotee.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.4.45-46)

Murari Gupta disappeared on the same full-moon day as the autumn rasa-lila festival.

[Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]

Originally posted on BVML.

For His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaj Appearance Day

Originally posted on Gosai.com

In the early years of this century, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakura set into motion a devotional revival that rapidly spread through Bengal, India, and eventually the world. He put into question the very foundations of present-day theistic thought in a way that has little comparison anywhere in the spiritual record, East or West. Through him, the world was awakened to the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the movement of pure devotion, suddha bhakti.

In orchestrating this modern bhakti revolution, Srila Prabhupada gathered some of the greatest spiritual luminaries in contemporary history into his circle. Such a convergence of exalted spiritual personalities can only be compared to the coming together of Sri Chaitanya’s direct followers in the sixteenth century. One of the devotional giants who entered Srila Prabhupada’s orbit was His Divine Grace Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaja.

We cannot describe the life of Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja without emphasizing his contribution to the spiritual movement in which he was so integrally involved. The depth of his accomplishments cannot be fathomed outside the context of Sri Gaudiya Math. With his fellow godbrothers, he shared an indomitable faith in the service of his Guru and the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This service was the sole purpose and highest aspiration of his being. This conviction led him to spend his entire life in the pursuit of Srila Prabhupada and Mahaprabhu’s pleasure and the fulfillment of their desires. If we examine his life in this setting, we will see more than just numbers, dates, places and names. We will see how he embodied the very life current that his spiritual preceptors came to give the world.

Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja took birth in the village of Ganganandapur in Jessore district (in present-day Bangla Desh), on October 8, 1898. His parents, Tarini Charan Chakravarti and Srimati Ram Rangini Devi, named him Sri Promode Bhushan Chakravarti. During his childhood, he met his vartma-pradarsaka guru (“one who opens the door to the path of devotion”), Srila Bhakti Ratna Thakura, a godbrother and siksha disciple of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, the legendary architect of the present Gaudiya Vaishnava movement. Through Bhakti Ratna Thakura he was introduced to Sajjana-tosani, Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s own Vaishnava periodical, which was filled with Bhaktivinoda’s commentaries and holy teachings. In this way Srila Puri Maharaja became familiar with the seminal works of the suddha bhakti tradition, such as Chaitanya Charitamrita, Chaitanya Bhagavata and the Srimad Bhagavatam. It was also through Bhakti Ratna Thakura that he first learned of his future guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada.

Srila Puri Maharaja was still a young university student when he first came before Srila Prabhupada at the Yoga Pith in Sri Mayapur in 1915. It was a significant occasion, for Srila Prabhupada’s diksha guru, Paramahamsa Thakura Srimad Gaura Kishor Das Babaji, had entered his eternal abode only the day before. Srila Puri Maharaja often recounted that as soon as he saw Srila Prabhupada and paid his obeisances to him for the first time, he knew in his heart that this was his spiritual master. Some years later, on the auspicious day of Sri Krishna Janmastami in 1923, he accepted both Harinam and mantra diksha from Srila Prabhupada and was given the name Pranavananda Brahmachari.

At the time, Sri Gaudiya Math was rapidly establishing itself as a bona fide manifestation of Indian religious culture and transforming the caste-conscious socio-religious world of Hinduism. Srila Prabhupada Saraswati Thakura was bringing together his intimate associates to share the wealth of Sri Krishna sankirtana. He had accepted tridandi sannyasa in 1918 and by the early 1920’s had already assumed a formidable position in the Bengali spiritual firmament. He was fearless when it came to upholding true religious principles. The students and practitioners of the Gaudiya Math aligned themselves with this attitude and led most exemplary lives of devotion, imbued with austerity, discipline and in-depth scriptural learning. This high standard of religious life was the hallmark of Sri Gaudiya Math and would be the thread that guided all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, including Srimad Puri Goswami Maharaja.

The keystone of success in devotion is to perfectly hear the holy words spoken by one’s spiritual preceptor. Srila Prabhupada would often say, “All that is required of you is that you lend me your ears.” Srila Puri Maharaja was fully committed to this maxim. He had the great good fortune to associate closely with Srila Prabhupada for thirteen years and during that time he served him personally by recording his lectures and conversations, which were later published. The greater part of Srila Prabhupada’s spoken words we are left with today come from the transcriptions of these notes. At the same time, Srila Puri Maharaja cultivated a deep knowledge of the Vaishnava scriptures, with the result that he became a veritable storehouse of the wealth of the preceptorial line coming from Sri Chaitanya and his followers. This led him to become one of the most prolific writers and influential teachers in all of Gaudiya Vaishnava history. His writings reflect the disciplined eye of a scholar who expresses with grace and directness the purest scriptural conclusions supported by his own uncommonly profound realization.

Following Srila Prabhupada’s directives, our Gurudeva edited, wrote for, published and helped distribute countless spiritual publications. He was initially inspired and directed by Srila Prabhupada to start writing and contributing articles to the Gaudiya magazine, the backbone of the Gaudiya Math’s missionary work. For seven years he served as a proofreader and as one of its primary editors. In 1926, he was charged with running the world’s only daily Vaishnava newspaper, Dainika Nadiya Prakasa. He held this service for two years, publishing all of his preceptor’s daily discourses along with articles by fellow students and other contemporaries. His service and learning did not pass unnoticed by Srila Prabhupada who awarded him the titles of maha-mahopadesaka (“great instructor”) and pratna-vidyalankara (“keeper of the wisdom of the ancient scriptural lore”).

After the disappearance of his Gurudeva in 1937, Srila Puri Maharaja continued his vocation of spreading the teachings of Sri Chaitanya through the Gaudiya magazine, first out of the Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math and then later the Sri Chaitanya Math in Mayapur. After he founded the Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja’s godbrother, Srimad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja, invited him to head the editorial board of Chaitanya Vani magazine in 1964. Puri Maharaja served in this capacity for thirty-three years, furthering his life’s work of preserving the teachings of his spiritual lineage. Through Chaitanya Vani, he continued to make a deep impact on the devotional world.

In all, our venerable teacher’s wisdom is embodied in over sixty years of writings on Vaishnava philosophy and theology. He penned a rich variety of texts, bringing the Bhagavata dharma to life through hundreds of poems, essays, narratives, diaries, editorials and personal letters, thus creating a storehouse of the wealth of pure devotion for his disciples and the world at large.

In 1942, Srila Prabhupada appeared to Srila Puri Maharaja in a dream vision and imparted to him the sannyasa mantra, ordering him to accept the renounced order. After accepting tridandi-sannyasa from his godbrother Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhanasa Maharaja in Champahati in August of 1946, he toured parts of India with other godbrothers such as Bhakti Hridoy Bon Maharaja and Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja. In the meantime, he continued to write and lecture with dedication. At the behest of his godbrother Tridandi Swami Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaja, he also served for seven years as chief pujari for the Yoga Pitha temple, the birthsite of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Srila Puri Maharaja took up a more solitary life of worship in the 1950’s. He moved to a humble cottage on the banks of the Ganges in Ambika Kalna. The king of Burdwan was extremely impressed by his saintly ascetic character and, on the appearance day of Srimati Radharani in 1958, presented him with the ancient Ananta Vasudeva temple in Kalna.

In 1989, at the age of 91, Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja established the Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Math in Ishodyan, Sri Mayapur, for the service of their divine lordships, Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhara, Jagannatha Deva, Radha-Gopinatha and Lakshmi-Narasingha Deva. In the following years, he established other temples in Jagannatha Puri, Vrindavana, Calcutta and Midnapore.

Srila Puri Maharaja taught through his every action. He excelled in all aspects of devotional practice and there was perhaps no area in which he did not exhibit utmost expertise, diligence and foresight. This ranged from his encyclopedic knowledge of scripture, to maintaining the printing press, to his beautiful singing of kirtan. He was especially recognized for his sensitivity and attention to detail in the performance of deity worship and devotional rites and was thus widely called upon to be the head priest in most of the Gaudiya Matha’s deity installations and ceremonial functions. He was rarely known to rest; his service was an uninterrupted flow. Even in his later years, he would remain awake, writing and chanting through the night while all his youthful disciples were still asleep. When his personal servants came in the morning, they would inevitably find him awake and chanting the Holy Name, arisen before everyone else in the ashrama.

Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja had outstanding love for his godbrothers and was inspired in his glorification of others. He found richness in everyone he met. He had the quality of making one feel so much wanted and their life so much valued. At the same time, he paid the least attention to himself. He was an emblem of humility and simplicity, and his generosity of spirit and kindness touched the hearts of the whole Vaishnava community. Among his lifetime, intimate companions were Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Prajnan Keshava Maharaja, and Srila Akinchan Krishna Das Babaji Maharaja. Toward the end of his sojourn in this world, he was honored by the Gaudiya Vaishnava community for his learning, long life of service and devotion and made president of the World Vaishnava Association in 1995.

“He has love for his Guru; and let it be known that his life is one with his words.” This tribute, coming from Srila Prabhupada himself, is the most revealing statement about Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja’s personality and qualities. He gave credit for all of his accomplishments to the mercy of his Gurudeva alone. Through the blessings of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakura, Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja attracted the hearts of so many to the Bhagavata religion. People from so many different backgrounds and countries found in him a true spiritual guide and shelter. He upheld the principles of pure Vaishnavism and delineated the path of saranagati. He so embodied pure devotion and service to his spiritual master that one of his disciples once remarked that he was able to “silently lay down Srila Prabhupada’s entire siddhanta.”

We are greatly indebted to His Divine Grace for his gift–a lifetime of pure devotion, spanning over a century, which we can aspire for, learn from, and discuss about for our own spiritual nourishment. Srila Puri Maharaja departed this world for the eternal abode in the predawn hours of Narayana Chaturdasi, October 21, 1999, one day before the Rasa Purnima. His divine body was transported from Jagannatha Puri to the Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha in Ishodyan and there placed in his eternal samadhi shrine. Prior to his departure from this world, Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja appointed his intimate disciple, Sripada Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaja as his successor and President-acharya of Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha.

In years to come as more of his words and vision are translated, the world outside of Bengal and India will come to know the spirit of the true Vaishnava religion that he tirelessly shared. May the gentle rain of nectar of his perfect teachings continue to bring auspiciousness into this world. [From Of Love & Separation]

For Srila Gauridas Pandit DISAPPEARANCE

 

“Gauridasa Pandit, the emblem of the most elevated devotional service in
love of Godhead, had the greatest potency to receive and deliver such love.
Making Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda the Lords of his life, Gauridasa
Pandit sacrificed everything for the service of Lord Nityananda.”
(Caitanya-caritamrta)

Before taking sannyasa, Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda visited Gauridasa
Pandit in Ambika Kalna. Fearing their impending separation, Gauridasa cried
and begged the Lord to stay longer. Mahaprabhu made life-like neem wood
Deities of Gaura Nitai to console his loving servant. “Gauridasa, My murti
form is as good as I am,” said Lord Gauranga, “We will forever remain in
your home to accept your service.”

Gauridasa Pandit worshiped Gaura Nitai in many intimate ways–talking
sweetly to Them, cooking a variety of tasty foods, discussing sastra with
Them, attending to Their every need throughout the day. Even when old and
feeble, Gauridasa ceaselessly served his worshipable Lords Sri-Sri
Gaura-Nitai.

Although poor, he desired to decorate Gaura-Nitai with costly beautiful
ornaments. Knowing his mind, Gaura-Nityananda lavishly adorned Themselves.
Beholding Their exquisite beauty Gauridasa became astonished. “Where did
They get these ornaments?” he thought. Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai would often enact
such transcendental pastimes in the home of Their pure devotee, Sri
Gauridasa Pandit.

One time, Caitanya Dasa, Gauridasa’s foremost disciple, organized a huge
sankirtana festival on the bank of the Ganges. Enraptured by the kirtana,
Gauridasa’s Deities jumped off the altar and joined the devotees in chanting
and dancing. Discovering the Deities missing from the temple, Gauridasa
grabbed a stick and ran to catch Gaura-Nitai. Seeing his angry mood,
Gaura-Nitai vanished. At that moment, Gauridasa watched in amazement to see
Gaura-Nitai enter the heart (hrdaya) of Caitanya Dasa. Gauridasa embraced
his beloved disciple, bathed him with tears, and said, “You are most
fortunate. From today your name will be Hrdaya Caitanya, one who holds Sri
Caitanya within his heart.”

Since then Gaura-Nitai’s darsana at Gauridasa Pandit’s temple is offered in
many brief intervals like Banke-bihariji in Vrndavana. To keep Gaura-Nitai
from jumping off the altar, the pujaris open and quickly close the curtain
throughout the darsana time.

While doing bhajana in Dhira Samira Kunja in Vrndavana, Gauridasa Pandit
entered the eternal go carana lila (cowherding pastimes) of
Krishna-Balarama. In Vraja he is Subala, a dvadasa gopala. His samadhi is
within the Shyama-Raya temple compound in Dhira Samira, Vrndavana. (20,47)

Gauridasa, a disciple of Nityananda Prabhu, was one of the twelve
gopalas of Krsna in Vrindavana. He was Subala sakha in his past incarnation
(Gauraganoddesadipika 128). His Sripata is at Amvikanagara near the
district of Kalna. Before setting up his Sripata, he lived at Saligrama
near the Mudagacha railway station in the Nadia district. (Bhaktiratnakara
7.330-331)

For Srila Rupa Goswami’s Dissapearance day

Sri Rupa Goswami’s Siksha

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaja

Through Rupa Goswami, Mahaprabhu taught the world about Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes and the process for attaining Krishna in Vrindavan. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami writes, “Through the mercy of Sanatan I have learned the devotional doctrines, while by the grace of Rupa I have been able to discover the extensiveness of the divine aesthetics of devotion.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.5.203)

The Lord taught about sacred rapture and Vraja’s pastimes of love through Rupa Goswami. Who can effectively describe the subtleties of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila? (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.5.87)

vrndavaniyam rasa-kelivartam
kalena luptam nija-saktim utkah |
sancarya rupe vyatanot punah sa
prabhor vidhau prag iva loka-srstim ||

Just as the Lord enlightened the heart of Lord Brahma with the details of the creation and thus made the manifestation of the cosmos possible, so did Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eagerly impregnate the heart of Rupa Goswami with spiritual potency so that he could revive Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes which had almost been lost to memory. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.1)

While in Prayag, Mahaprabhu gave Rupa the direct order to write Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. This has been stated by Rupa himself in the introductory verses to that book:

hrdi yasya preramaya pravartito’ham varaka-rupo’ pi |
tasya hareh pada-kamalam vande caitanya-devasya ||

I worship the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Lord Chaitanya-deva, for by his inspiration I have set out to write this book even though I am nothing but a ignorant wretch. (Brs 1.1.2)

Particularly relevant in this connection is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur’s commentary on the importance of studying and writing books as an element of devotional practice: “The lives of the Goswamis were exemplary in their renunciation. Sometimes they would engage in chanting the holy names of the Lord, sometimes they would worship him by writing books on divine aesthetics, and sometimes they would remember or glorify Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

There is an idea which has some currency amongst the prakrta-sahajiyas that devotional practice entails the renunciation of studying and writing devotional scriptures, indeed that any kind of scriptural study should be stopped so that one can attain to a state of ignorance. Those who follow in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami have no patience with such ideas. However, if a devotional practitioner studies or writes devotional scriptures for the sake of making money through which to satisfy his material senses or attain material fame, respect or any of the other insignificant and superficial goals which are classed as distractions or weeds in the garden of devotional service, then he will not attain the auspicious results which are the real fruit such activity. A real Rupanuga has no fruitive ambition for such petty results.” (Anubhasya, 2.19.131)

When Mahaprabhu was giving Rupa the outline for his book on sacred rapture, he described the characteristics of the different mellows and showed him how to get a taste of the fathomless ocean of sacred rapture, he pointed out how difficult it was to attain devotional service to Krishna. The jiva or living entity is an atomic spark of conscious energy.

There are countless jivas, who are divided into two categories–those which are mobile and those which are stationary. Those which have mobility are again divided into three: those which move on the land, in the air or in the water. Amongst those who live on the land, a small number are human beings, of which only a minority accept the Vedic principles. Outcastes such as Pulindas, Mlecchas, Savaras and Buddhists are in the majority. Of those who accept the Vedas, some do so in name only and engage in sinful activity. Those who practice the Vedic principles are in the minority. Those who are engaged in religious practices toward some fruitive end form the majority in this group.

Amongst millions of such karma-nistha followers of the Veda, one person may perhaps attain the level of spiritual knowledge; yet only one of many millions of such jnanis will be an actual liberated soul. And out of millions of liberated souls, it will still be difficult to find a devotee of Krishna. Devotion to Krishna which is thus so rare can take birth when a certain merit is attained through great good fortune. The seed to the devotional creeper comes through the mercy of the Lord and his devotee. The creeper of spontaneous ecstatic devotion does not flower anywhere within this world, not even in Vaikuntha in the spiritual world, but only in Vrndavan at Krishna’s lotus feet. Krishna’s feet are like the wish-fulfilling tree around which the vine of devotion wraps itself and bears fruit. This is described in a most clear and wonderful manner by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami in Chaitanya Charitamrita:

After wandering through this entire universe, birth after birth, some fortunate souls receive the seed of devotion (bhakti-lata-bija) by the mercy of Krishna and the guru. Upon receiving the seed of devotional service, one should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing it in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtan [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout. As one waters the bhakti-lata-bija, the seed sprouts, and the creeper gradually increases to the point where it penetrates the walls of this universe and goes beyond the Viraja River between the spiritual world and the material world. It passes through the Brahma-loka, the Brahman effulgence until it finally reaches the spiritual sky and the spiritual planet Goloka Vrindavan where it takes shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krishna. There the creeper expands greatly and produces the fruit of love for Krishna, while the gardener continues to regularly sprinkle the creeper with the water of hearing and chanting here in the material world.

An offense to the Vaishnavas is like a mad elephant that uproots or breaks the creeper, causing its leaves to dry up.

The gardener must therefore take care to protect the creeper by making a fence around it so that the elephant of offenses may not enter. Even so, unwanted creepers, such as the weeds of desire for material enjoyment or release from the world, may grow along with the creeper of devotional service. Such weeds are countless in their variety. Some examples are forbidden activity, faultfinding and duplicity, causing suffering to other creatures, seeking wealth, adulation or mundane importance. All these weeds grow alongside the main creeper as one waters it, causing its growth to be curtailed.

As soon the devotee sees one of these weeds growing beside the original creeper, he must cut it down instantly. Then the real bhakti-lata can grow nicely all the way to Vrindavan where it will find shelter under the lotus feet of Krishna. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.151-61)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has commented on this passage in his Anubhasya: “Through the act of watering the creeper of devotional service by hearing and chanting, weeds may also grow which results in the growth of the bhakti-lata being stifled. If one does not avoid bad association, which is the only way to be free of offenses while hearing and chanting, then one becomes attached to sense gratification, the idea of liberation from material bondage, various mystic achievements, or the practice of deception. One may also become addicted to the illicit association of women or practice other false manifestations of devotion practiced by the prakrta-sahajiyas or a dweller of the five places given by Pariksit to Kali, namely wherever there is gambling, intoxication, prostitution, animal slaughter and the accumulation of gold.

He starts to take the Vaishnavas to be members of a particular race or caste, he finds dishonest ways of collecting money, or makes a show of practicing spiritual life in seclusion while secretly harboring desires for fame and adulation. Or one’s desire for mundane reputation may result in his making compromises with nondevotees, compromising one’s philosophy or spiritual life, or becoming a supporter of the hereditary caste system by professing discipleship to a so-called guru who opposes Vishnu and the Vaishnavas. The sum and substance of these aberrant paths is that one becomes intoxicated in the gratification of one’s own senses and, in order to attain these superficial and destructible ends, in short, anything besides pure devotion, one presents oneself as a great saintly person or as a religious person in order to accumulate followers. None of these things is useful in attaining pure devotional service to Krishna.

“If one uproots the various weeds as soon as one sees them beginning to sprout, then the creeper of devotional service will be able to grow as far as Goloka Vrindavan where it will give forth transcendental fruits. If not, one will end up being cut off from the devotional life and, remaining in the material world, whether in the higher or lower planets, will have to suffer its vagaries.” (Anubhasya, 2.19.160-1)

There are twelve devotional sentiments. The five primary sentiments are those of peacefulness, servitude, friendship, parenthood, and erotic love. The seven secondary sentiments are humor, astonishment, heroism, compassion, anger, disgust and fear.

The five primary sentiments remain permanently within the devotee’s heart, while the secondary sentiments are adventitious, appearing only when there is cause. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.188)

The secondary rasas act as supporting elements for the primary sentiments, coming and going when propitious circumstances arise.

After serving their function, they again disappear, whereas the primary sentiments are permanently ensconced in the devotee’s heart.

In his teachings to Rupa Goswami, Mahaprabhu established that of the five primary rasas, the divine sentiment of conjugal love is foremost. The characteristics of santa-rasa abandonment of other desires and steady attachment to Krishna. Over and above these characteristics, the possessor of the serving mood has his service, the friend has an intimacy, while the parent has a sense of being the protector. The devotee in madhura-rasa has all these qualities with the addition of serving with her own body. Just as all the qualities of the other elements starting with the ether are added together to be united in earth, so are all the qualities of the other devotional moods united in the mood of erotic love. Since all the sentiments are present in madhura-rasa, it is the best.

Rupa Goswami’s samadhi temple can be found in the courtyard of the Radha Damodar temple in Vrindavan. This is also where he performed his bhajana at the end of his life. Other places consecrated to Rupa’s memory in the Vraja area include his place of worship near Nandagrama, called Terikadamba. In this place, Radha came in disguise to give Rupa milk, rice and sugar so that he could cook a sweet-rice preparation for Sanata n Goswami. When Sanatan tasted the sweet rice, he felt divine ecstasies invade his body. Upon learning how he had received the ingredients, however, Sanatan forbad Rupa to ever cook sweet rice again, so that Radharani would not have to go to any trouble on his behalf.

Rupa Goswami’s pastimes in this world came to an end in the month of Bhadra, on the twelfth day of the waxing moon, the day after Jhulana Ekadasi.

—-excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s Unequalled Contribution

For the disappearance day of Sat Chit Ananda Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur:

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

namo bhaktivinodaya saccidananda-murtaye |
gaura-sakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te ||

I offer my obeisances to you, O Bhaktivinoda, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, the incarnation of Gaura’s potency and the best of the followers of Rupa Goswami.

The sampradaya’s debt to Bhaktivinoda Thakur
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is the root of the daily activities in the Chaitanya Math, the Gaudiya Math, the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, the Gaudiya Missions, etc. The Gaudiya Math institutions cannot be separated from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. These institutions are entirely indebted to his sublime contributions. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has written, “Devotees in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami do not preach faith in their own powers, but rather direct attention to the source of their spiritual strength. We also do everything for the sake of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Sri Rupa, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and our divine spiritual master.” (From Patravali, Srila Prabhupada’s letters, vol. 3, p. 89.) Devotees of the Brahma-Madhva-Sarasvata-Gaudiya sampradaya pay their respects daily to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur as follows:

suddha-bhakti-pracarasya mulibhuta ihottamah |
sri-bhaktivinodo devas tat-priyatvena visrutah ||

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is a transcendental personality who is the root of the preaching movement of pure devotion. He is renowned as one who is dear to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Bhaktivinoda’s unequalled contribution
Vedavyasa and the scriptures he wrote are the foundation of all those who claim to follow the Sanatan Dharma. He himself practiced and preached the means by which humankind can attain the supreme peace. Vedavyasa compiled and divided the Veda, wrote the eighteen puranas and the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad-gita, but remained unsatisfied. Finally, while at Badarikasrama, Narada Muni instructed him to glorify the activities of Sri Krishna in order to attain his pleasure. After writing the twelve cantos of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vedavyasa finally found the peace he had been looking for. Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya preached the Bhagavat religion which is found in this text. After the disappearance of Mahaprabhu and his associates, however, the path of pure devotion became covered with thorns until Bhaktivinoda Thakur appeared to write many books and to preach the pure doctrine of devotional service to Krishna. Through his tireless efforts, all the heretical doctrines were ! shown to be empty, the path of supreme auspiciousness and compasision was shown to all the world. These efforts can only be said to constitute an unequalled and certainly unsurpassed contribution. Without being empowered by Krishna himself, the message of pure devotion cannot be spread. Such a display of empowerment could not be possible were he not a direct associate of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Sri Krishna.

Externally he was a householder with family obligations, a government servant engaged in the administrative service, but despite these responsibilities he was still able to write over a hundred books in several different languages. One cannot fail to be impressed by this monumental achievement. Every word of his writing is scripture; every word awakens the spirit of devotion to him who is beyond the grasp of the material senses and mind. Mundane scholars would never be able to achieve the kind of synthesis that he did. His every thought was perfectly reasonable and never far-fetched. His writings are a permanent display of compassion to the fallen souls. His Divine Grace Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj used to say to his disciples, “You need do nothing else other than translate Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s books into the world’s various languages and you will have done the greatest act of welfare for the people of the world.” In fact, everything that is done in the Gaudiya Maths throughout the world has come from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

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